Recap: Family Road Trip

This way to adventure signMy husband Shane, our Son Riley and I traveled 9865 kilometers (6130 miles) in 38 days, living out of our Toyota Landcrusier 80 series 4WD, trekking to the tip of Australia. We did this trip back in July–August 2015 and I’m only now getting to sit down and go though the journal I wrote each day.

Travel Collage

We had planned this trip for three years and pored our hearts and wages into it. Before this trip the furthest Riley had traveled in a vehicle was to Narrabri once and with plenty of rest stops that was only a eight hour trip. Riley proved to be a really great traveler, bar kicking the passages seat regularly and a really great camper. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself and flourish in the new and constantly changing environments.

On the first day we had planned on leaving at 3am, but due to satellite phone collection issues we didn’t leave to 11am. This meant that we finished the days driving in the dark. It dawned on me as we were heading out of Lake Macquarie that I had only driven the cruiser four times; once when we first bought it, twice to work (it was practically stock standard back then) and once again when we moved house. It was at this point that I started to freak out about how many kilometers on this trip I would be driving. I had a panic attack later that night when a Road Train was up my ass thundering down the road on the way to Moree. I ended up having to pull off the road, let him pass and then try to calm down. There were many times on the trip where Road Trains caused me extreme stress. In the end Shane did most of the long haul driving.

By the end of day nine Shane had chucked a major tantrum and wanted to dump the roof top tent on the side of the road and buy a camper. Shane and my father are currently building a camper to use on our next trip. Shane ended up fed up with having to pack up camp every time we wanted to go for a drive, something I had pointed out might be problem when we were planning the trip, but he had been adamant that he didn’t want to tow on the tracks we were going to drive.

Earlier on in the trip I decided that kangaroos and cattle are two of the stupidest creatures alive. The roos stop, stare at you, then run right towards your vehicle and some of the cattle are not much better. They are both cute as buttons, but oh so stupid.

We spent more on food and accommodation than expected, but less on fuel, so it all sort of balanced out. All up we burnt through 1686.11 litres of diesel in 9865 kilometers. That’s, 17.09 litres per 100KM. She weighted around three tonne fully loaded so we couldn’t really expect any better than that. The Landcruiser did really well for a 23-year-old vehicle; other than the passenger side mirror falling off on the road to Lorella, the rear number plate falling off on the Development road and the alternator playing up towards the end, she was golden. Oh what a feeling, TOYOTA! I actually had an intense dislike for this vehicle before this road trip, but I fell in love with her for her strength and capabilities on the red dirt tracks of outback Australia.Crusier Collage

We made it through The Old Telegraph Track and The Frenchmens Track no worries. But The Creb Track (Cains regional electricity board track) beat us, as it was just too wet. The Creb also beat two other vehicles ahead of us on the track when they rolled over. We were having fun slipping and sliding around until the Nissan Patrol in front of us popped a Tyre off of its rim. As the boys were rectifying that problem, two dirt bike riders came through and warned us of the rolled vehicles up ahead blocking the track. We turned back. The Creb had only reopened the week before we attempted to do it and it was officially shut the day after we were there.

Riley the farm boyRiley enjoyed a road side tractor and farming equipment display in Ilfracombe more than anything else on the trip.

Shane and I enjoyed Longreach’s Qantas Museum and Stockmans Hall of Fame but wasn’t all that entertaining for then 2-year-old Riley.

Lorella Springs was stunning and our week there wasn’t enough. We hope to go back in 2018 for three weeks. Riley’s first time in a hot spring (luke warm) was at Lorella and he was fascinated by the fact that we were in the water and surrounded by bush. Previous to this he’d only been swimming in our local council pool or at a beach.

Riley went on his first ever boat ride when we went for a gorge cruise in Lawn Hill National Park. He then went for his 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th boat ride on the ferry’s to and from the mainland to Thursday Island and Horn Island. The tour we did of Thursday and Horn focused on the WW2 and was really quite fascinating. Considering we were in and out of a bus all day Riley behaved really well.

Whether it was little kids trying to copy him swinging from a handrail, grandparents missing their grandchildren wanting to talk kiddlet, or fellow passengers playing peek a boo over the seats on boats and buses Riley managed to make new friends young and old wherever we went.

We did the Tip of Australia walk and took “the photo”.The Tip Photo

We had three vehicles in our convoy on the Creb and picked up a fourth, two Belgians way out of their league. I was getting really anxious that we were going to be stuck out on the Creb. Darren had to practically tow the Belgians up every hill. it was a nightmare, I just wanted the hell out of there. I actually said at one stage “I want my mum!” because I really needed a hug, but I corrected It to “I want my Uncle and his damn lifted twin looked steroid enhanced Range Rover”. At one stage when were at a stand still Riley decided to belly flop off of the back tail gate into a massive mud wallow. i was in tears by the time we got into Cairns late that night.

For Riley the playground at Cairns Coconut Holiday Park was a close second to the display in Ilfracombe for enjoyment.Coconut Playground Collage

The Lava Tubes at Undara were beautiful and fascinating for an adult, but wasn’t all the entertaining for Riley.

Riley and I got crook on the boat ride out to the Great Barrier Reef. Shane went and did a snorkel tour while Riley and I recovered from the boat ride out. We then went and did a semi sub boat tour and Riley seemed to enjoy it. He was mesmerized watching all the bubbles rushing past the windows. Thankfully the ride back to Cairns on the big boat was smoother and we didn’t get sick.

There is a lot of day to day stuff I’ve left out of this post, but all in all it was a fantastic family bonding experience. Even still I was so happy to be back home in my own bed, with a flushing toilet, hot shower and electricity. Home never looked so damn good.

We are very lucky in Australia to have such a diverse and beautiful country, one in which I intent to explore more thoroughly with my family.

My Sanctuary

Finally we’ve done it, we’ve bought our own home.
 
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The first time a saw the for sale sign I got tears in my eyes, I really did and do feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off of my shoulders.

The last couple of weeks have been the most stressful of my life, most of you will know how stressful buying your first home can be. I was on my way to raid my Dads seaweed cracker box, when I Spotted a for sale sign out the front of a house just up from my Parents house. We hadn’t actually been planning to look at buying our own home until we came back from our outback 4wd adventure we have planned for next year, but when I spotted this house in the same street I grew up in, just up the street from my Parents place, my heart started doing all sorts of flips and I started dreaming about how wonderful it would be for my son to grow up in the same beautiful street where I did. I started having day dreams of Riley (a few years from now) walking down to Grandma and Grandad’s to raid the cookie jar (or seaweed crackers) and then returning home with Sassy in tow (Sassy is my parents dog).

Then the reality of buying a house set in and I started to freak. I was riddled with anxiety and was getting to the point of just saying no, lets forget about it, it’s too hard. Fear of the unknown has become a real problem with me since I became a mother, I don’t have the same to hell with the consequences, run flat out blindfolded attitude I used to.
 
But It’s going to be ours. I grew up at number 3 and will grow old at number 9. Since the loan was approved and the deposit was put down, all my unease and fear has gone away. After too many years of renting, living in no one’s home, I will have my own and I will be able to set my soul free. I will be able to fill this house with love for my son and make it my sanctuary.

100 Happy Days (21-40)

I have been partaking in the 100 Happy Days challenge, sharing my Happy Days with my Facebook and Twitter friends. I started the challenge back on the 21st of March, so today is the 40th day.

I did a 1-20 day round up post on WordPress before, so here is the 21-40 round up.

Day21: Just got my hair done for the first time since my son was born, I’m feeling good.

day 21

Day22: Wherever I go he wants to come to, makes me feel loved and needed.

day 22Day23: New shoes, I went shopping with the hubby this morning.

day 23Day24: I’m eating some yummy lollies from my cousins wedding yesterday and admiring how awesome my family is.day 24

Day26: I was a bit blue yesterday and didn’t do a day 25 post, but watching Riley being cute as interacting with our dogs this morning more than made up for it.day 26

Day27: Riley looking oh so cute this morning in his blanket onesie (it’s a onesie, made out of a blanket) I love this thing, he’s in a blanket – Awesome.Day27

Day-28-29-30-31-32-33: Easter Camping with the family & friends.Day 28 33

Day34: This stuff is magic, it heals babies (Riley’s Bum) and dogs (Buster’s fly bites /ears, Sassy’s face/chest rash) Magic I tell you.day34

Day35: Love morning snuggles with the bubby and the hubby.day35

Day36: Snapping some pics of Riley and his great granddad looking real spiffy.day36

Day37: This Kid (no he wasn’t hurt, he got right back up and kept playing). 

Day38: A good book and a cup of hot chocolate.day38

Day39: My work days over, getting in my car to go pick up my baby boy and take him home.day39

Day40: We went out for a drive in the Cruiser today and I got to do some driving, never mind that I drove through a deep mud hole and we got wet feet and carpet LOL.Wheels

Here is my post for Day 1 -20 >> http://wp.me/p431Gp-a1